|Predecessor(s)||BBC Enterprises Ltd.|
|Headquarters||London, England, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Tony Hall
BBC Worldwide Limited is the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation, formed out of a restructuring of its predecessor BBC Enterprises in 1995. The company exploits BBC brands, sells BBC and other British programming for broadcast abroad with the aim of supplementing the income received by the BBC through the license fee.
In the year to 31 March 2010 it made a profit of £145m on a turnover of £1.074bn. The company had made a profit of £106m on a turnover of £1,004m in the previous financial year. In the year to 31 March 2011 BBC Worldwide's headline profits were up 10.3% to £160.2m - its highest level ever. The growth helped lift the overall return to the BBC by nearly 9% to £182m.
In addition to broadcasting, the BBC has for much of its life also produced additional materials for sale, the profits of which would be returned to the corporation to aide in the financing of these services. The highest profile of these early products was the listings magazine Radio Times, however the net revenue gained from this in 1928 (£93,686, 10s, 1d) only equated to 10% of total BBC income.
Prior to 1979, several BBC departments dealt with the exploitation and sale of BBC brands and programmes. BBC Publications, which produced magazines, books and other supplementary materials, had expanded rapidly in the late 1960s but still had difficulties with finances: in 1974 the division made a loss of £14,000. This was rectified however as the economic situation eased and by 1982 BBC Publications had a trading profit of £4.7 million. BBC Transcription Services licensed BBC Radio material to overseas broadcasters.
The exploit of television programmes was at first handled in 1958 with the establishment of a business manager post. This gradually expanded until the establishment of the Television Promotions (later renamed Television Enterprises) department in 1960 under a general manager. In its first year, the department saw the sale of 550 programmes overseas with a turnover of £234,000, with a further 1,200 programmes sold the following year. Radio programmes were only exploited on the same level with the creation of the Radio Enterprises department in 1965. However, following the retirement of the Radio Enterprises general manager in 1969, the two departments were merged to form the BBC Enterprises department.
In 1979 the department became BBC Enterprises Ltd., a subsidiary company wholly owned by the BBC. By 1982, the division were expanding with divisions responsible for home video (under the brand BBC Video), recorded audio (under the brands BBC Records and BBC Cassettes), film and merchanding. At this point the company had a turnover of £23 million. On 1 April 1986, all commercial activities of the corporation, including BBC Publications, was merged into BBC Enterprises Ltd.
In 1991 BBC World Service Television became the first commercially funded BBC broadcasting operation after the Foreign Office refused to pay for it. BBC Enterprises Ltd was subsequently reorganised in 1995 as BBC Worldwide Ltd. A review of the BBC's commercial activities took place in 2004 and concluded that the sell off of BBC Worldwide's assets was not as advantageous as keeping the business and driving it harder. Instead, some changes to its remit, focus, structure and governance were made, e.g. that it would only publish titles in the UK linked to BBC programmes or key genres.
In 2004, BBC Video merged with VCI to form 2 Entertain, which was part owned by BBC Worldwide; the following year the company sold Eve magazine to Haymarket Group and in 2006 BBC Books was sold to publisher Random House.
In January 2009 it was announced that Ofcom had put forward the recommendation that Channel 4 merge with either the commercial network Five or BBC Worldwide. Channel 4's preferred option of a partnership with the latter was confirmed by chief executive Andy Duncan, who added: "We're in discussions with BBC Worldwide at the moment and they're really very exciting." In the same year, the company was awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise in recognition of the companies growth and success.
BBC Worldwide is responsible for a wide range of commercial activities, primarily connected in some way with the output and public purposes of the main BBC. At present the business is divided into five operating businesses which cover the entire operations of the company: Channels; Content and Production; Brands, Consumers and New Ventures, Consumer Products and Sales and Distributions.
- BBC America
- BBC Canada – 20% with Shaw Media
- BBC Indonesia
- BBC Entertainment
- BBC HD
- BBC Kids – 20% with Knowledge Network Corporation
- BBC Knowledge
- BBC Lifestyle
- British UKTV network of 10 channels – 50% with Scripps Networks Interactive
- BBC UKTV in Australia and New Zealand
- Distributes BBC World News
The Content and Production division was formed in 2006 and invests the company's money into new productions by both the BBC and other independent productions. It also exploits the formats of BBC programmes and alters them to be suitable for an international audience - an example is the exploitation of the Strictly Come Dancing brand to become Dancing with the Stars - maximising revenues by receiving a production fee from the local broadcaster as well as a sum from selling the initial re-versioning rights. The division works alongside the Sales and Distribution division, which sells the broadcasting rights to completed programmes made by the BBC and other producers - an example being the Red Production Company drama Mine All Mine for the ITV network in 2004. It includes the selling of individual clips through the BBC Motion Gallery to other broadcasters. In the financial year 2010/11, this division sold the rights to over 74,000 hours worth of television content.
The other two divisions of the company deal with the individual programme brands: Global Brands focuses on the international recognition of the brands while the Consumer Products division produces a variety of goods based around these brands. The work of the former includes expanding the brands into new areas - the Top Gear Live tour is a key example of this. The latter creates and sells a variety of consumer products, occasionally as a stake or partnership in another company, including VHS and DVD releases, spoken word and music audio products, CD-ROMs, videogames, books and magazines.
Assets and brands 
- Owns video publishing company 2 Entertain with products dual branded 2 Entertain and BBC.
- Owns Demon Music Group.
- Operates the BBC Shop.
- Operates the BBC Motion Gallery.
- 25% stake in production company Left Bank Pictures.
- 25% stake in Cliffhanger Productions independent production company.
- 25% stake in BBC Children's Books, an imprint of Penguin Group who hold a 75% stake.
- 15% stake in BBC Audiobooks, with other 85% owned by AudioGo. Published by AudioGo under the BBC Audiobooks or BBC Audio brands.
- Minority share in BBC Books, with Random House Group taking majority share. Books published using BBC Books brand.
- Minority stake in BBC Active, with Pearson PLC taking the majority share. The brand publishes educational material.
These commercial activities allow BBC Worldwide to return profits and dividends to the BBC to re-invest in its broadcasting operations. In 2007/08 BBC Worldwide invested £75.1m in in-house and independent programmes commissioned by the BBC. However, the BBC has often been criticised for the amount of money it makes from BBC Worldwide. Some commercial rivals protest at the advantage the company has from being associated with and being able to exploit the programme catalogue and resources of the BBC in order to provide its goods and services.
See also 
- "Annual review 2009/2010". BBC Worldwide. 2010. Archived from the original on 10 September 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "About BBC Worldwide". BBC Worldwide. 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
- "BBC annual report reveals fall in star pay". BBC News. 13 July 2011.
- Cain, John (1992). The BBC: 70 years of broadcasting. London: British Broadcasting Corporation. pp. 116–119. ISBN 0563367504.
- "1970s". The BBC Story. BBC. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Cain, John (1992). The BBC: 70 years of broadcasting. London: British Broadcasting Corporation. p. 150. ISBN 0563367504.
- Crisell, Andrew (1997). An Introductory History of British Broadcasting. Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 0-415-12802-1.
- "BBC Worldwide announces sale of eve magazine to Haymarket". BBC Press Office. 11 January 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "The Random House Group acquires majority shareholding in BBC Books". BBC Press Office. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Channel 4 'must form partnership'". BBC News. 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-29. "Channel 4 should become part of a bigger organisation through a merger or partnerships, Ofcom has recommended."
- "Jana Bennett to leave BBC Worldwide". BBC News. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Channels". BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Content & Production". BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Sales & Distribution". BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Global Brands". BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Consumer Products". BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Announcing LEFT BANK PICTURES a unique collaboration of film & television talent". BBC Press Office. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "BBC Worldwide takes stake in Andy Harries' Left Bank". Screen Daily. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
- "BBC Worldwide buys into Cliffhanger". BBC Press Office. 22 November 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Penguin Books and BBC Worldwide form new venture for BBC Children's Books". BBC Press Office. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "BBC Worldwide announces sale of majority shareholding in BBC Audiobooks". BBC Press Office. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- Sweney, Mark (14 July 2010). "BBC Audiobooks sold". Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "BBC Active signals new partnership for BBC Worldwide and Pearson Education". BBC Press Office. 13 October 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "About BBC Worldwide". BBC Worldwide. 2008/09. Archived from the original on 6 October 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
- BBC Worldwide site
- BBC Worldwide at YouTube
- Immediate Media (formerly BBC Magazines)
- BBC Worldwide Media Centre
- BBC Worldwide wins Queen's Award in April 2009